Female Power-Play: How Women have always exuded power in Hindi cinema

Lata Mangeshkar remains the first Global Face of Indian cinema ahead of anyone else. Photo: Publicity Photo

Women in Hindi Cinema may have become more powerful and ‘in’ right now but have always exuded power. On International Women’s Day 2023, here are 10 examples of the most powerful women down the years.

1 Lata Mangeshkar, Dadasaheb Phalke laureate (see Below), till today, remains the First Global Face of Indian Cinema, ahead of Raj Kapoor, Satyajit Ray, Amitabh Bachchan or Rajnikanth.

Asha Bhosle is the most-recorded artiste in the world. Photo: Publicity Photo

2 Asha Bhosle, Lata’s younger sister and also a Phalke laureate, remains the most recorded voice in the world with over 11,000 recorded songs.

Devika Rani won the first-ever Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1969. Photo: Publicity Photo

3 Devika Rani, termed the first lady of Indian cinema, debuted in Karma—A Throw of Dice (1933), which was the first Indian English-language film and the first Indian film to feature an on-screen kiss. She also founded the first Indian public limited film company, Bombay Talkies, in 1934, and was the first-ever winner of the Dadasaheb Phalke award, India’s highest honor for work in cinema, when it was instituted in 1969.

4 Ruby Myers, termed Sulochana Sr., was the first sex-symbol of Hindi cinema. Her first film, Veer Bala, was released in 1925. Her last appearance was in the hit, Julie, in 1975. She also won the Dadasaheb Phalke award.

5 Durga Khote, veteran actress and Dadasaheb Phalke laureate was the first actress to launch her own ad film concern, Durga Khote Productions. In the 1980s,  she produced short films, ad films and documentaries. Her later work included the epic Doordarshan TV series, Lifeline and Wagle Ki Duniya.

6 In their respective eras, names like Meena Kumari, Nutan, Nargis, Vyjayanthimala, Hema Malini, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit Nene were often paid more than their leading men.

Actress Nanda, when at the top, encouraged new heroes by signing films with them when they were struggling. Photo: Publicity Photo

7 Nanda helped many heroes by willingly signing films with them and often being their heroine in their first big/successful films. Among them were Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Rajesh Khanna and Sanjay Khan.

8 Jayashree T., incidentally Nanda’s sister-in-law, is the only Indian actor to have done films in 18 Indian languages.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who made her debut 20 years ago, is now a global icon. Photo: Publicity Photo

9 Priyanka Chopra-Jonas is actress, film producer and singer with a Hindi, Indian regional and global presence. Debuting 20 years ago with The Hero—Love Story of a Spy and Andaaz, she has a unique presence in Indian and Hollywood cinema.

10 Aparna Dharmadhikari, wife of actor Sameer Dharmadhikari, is the first female cinematographer on TV serials.






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